Tehran Times - Nine-man Sepahan Iran held out to secure a valuable 1-0 win over Iraq’s Air Force Club to boost their hopes of advancing from Group C of the AFC Champions League 2023/24 at Azadi Stadium on Monday.
The win helped Sepahan keep pace with leaders Al Ittihad FC with the Saudi Arabian side two points ahead, with the two teams to meet in a decider on Matchday Six.
Sepahan needed just four minutes to open the scoring, benefiting from a defensive mix-up when Air Force Club’s right-back Hamoud Mashaan attempted a back pass but goalkeeper Mohammed Hameed and center-back Ruslan Hanoon hesitated, allowing Ramin Rezaeian to poke the ball goalwards before Farshad Ahmadzadeh finished it into the back of the net from close range.
The Iranian side were reduced to 10 men in the final minutes of the first half when Mohammad Hosseinnezhad received a direct red card after a late challenge on Mustafa Saadoun.
With tensions rising in the final minutes of the game, Sepahan had another man dismissed as Hadi Mohammadi received his marching orders following a physical altercation with Abdulkadhim to leave his side with nine men for the rest of the match.